I’m glad Billy Graham is dead

 

The outpouring of sympathy for Billy Graham, including yesterday’s unusual Laying-in-State in the U.S. Capitol to honor him, was particularly offensive to the LGBTQ community, whom Graham castigated throughout his long ministry.

Gays have no reason not to be glad that the world is rid of one more homophobe. This was a man who spent decades ridiculing gays, stirring up resentment against them among his often unstable followers, and providing government and the courts with the religious justification to discriminate against gay people and deny them their freedom.

Among the hate speech Graham spewed were such tidbits as Homosexuality is an ungodly spirit of self-gratification” and “We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare. Your affection for another of your own sex is misdirected and will be judged by God’s holy standards.”

Another tidbit, this one thrown onto the dead bodies of tens of thousands of Americans: Is AIDS a judgment of God? I could not say for sure, but I think so.”

He was a strong advocate of “gay conversion therapy,” the highly controversial practice that many gays denounce as a form of psychological torture. Then there was the famous “Graham Rule,” also known as “the Pence Rule,” which advocates that “men avoid meeting, travelling or eating with a woman, other than one’s wife, alone, as a way of preventing infidelity or even the appearance of evil.”

Yes, because, as we all know, heterosexual Christian men, like Donald Trump and Billy Graham, can’t be trusted not to molest women if given the opportunity to do so!

I feel sorry for anyone who praises an individual whose mind was so psychologically aberrant and morally bereft, who issued such divisive and insulting jeremiads against millions of decent Americans. I expect the likes of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan to utter such stupidities as “Here lies America’s pastor” and “The GREAT Billy Graham is dead.” I expect rightwing bigots like Ben Carson, Jeff Sessions, Wilbur Ross and Rick Perry to “salute Graham’s coffin.”

But Democrats? Why the hell was Chuck Schumer there, bowing his head for this hater?

Bill Clinton? He was reported to have traveled to Charlotte, NC, “to pay his respects.” Respects for what? Crushing the civil rights of law-abiding American citizens? This does not redound to Clinton’s reputation, especially after he ushered in the unconstitutional “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and “Defense of Marriage” policies that even a conservative Republican Supreme Court could not stomach. At least Barack Obama had the good sense to avoid going to any of the memorial services, although Obama did kiss the Graham ring back in 2010. Of course, Obama’s snub of the recent services only fueled the latest round of Obama Derangement Syndrome from so-called “Christians.” The Christian News Service (“The Right News. Right Now”) reported the story, which resulted in scores of hate-filled screeds: “That says a lot about Obama doesn’t it?”, “Demons always turn and run at the very mention of the Name of Jesus”, “Does not surprise me because He’s a lying Muslim and he is finaly [sic] showing his true deceitful colours”, “He’d attend a memorial service for some two-bit thug”, “Now if it was Farrakan or Jeremiah Wright…”.

These are the fruits of Graham’s (and Trump’s, and the Republican Party’s) efforts to degrade, denigrate and denounce gays, Muslims and America’s first black president. This is the evil blossom that has grown from Graham’s polluted seed. Nobody should go to a Billy Graham memorial service without wearing a white sheet and saluting a burning cross. The man was as hateful a public figure as any this country has ever produced (and his son, Franklin, is worse); to have Billy Graham lay in state in the U.S. Capital is a disgrace. He was the poster child for the ignorant, rabble-rousing white “Christian” who wants a return to the good old days when blacks weren’t allowed to vote, women were chattel, and gays were murdered.

I hope, with the death of this mean-spirited bigot, that America has inched towards a brighter, more equal and inclusive future for all people.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 25, 2018

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a wonderfully pretty and fresh white from one of my favorite Italian producers, Feudi di San Gregorio. This Falanghina, a grape indigenous to the region, is everything you want in a food friendly white wine.

Closer to home I've got two (unmistakably) California Chardonnays that both lean towards the rich oaky side of the style, but manage to avoid falling off the edge of the cliff.

Moving on to reds, the Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard bottling of Pinot Noir stays quite true to form for that vineyard, with its dried flower scents and fantastic acidity.

CUNE is always a reliable producer of Rioja wines, and if you can't get the older stuff, their cheaper bottlings can also be quite good, including the Reserva noted below, which offers great flavor for the money.

If you were looking for some expensive Napa reds to splurge on, the "basic" estate Cabernet from Signorello is worth buying, and they could use the support, as they lost their winery in the fires this year. Their Padrone bottling in all its super-heavy-bottle glory is, in my opinion, a bit overdone compared to the plain-old Cab.

Finally there's the Silverado Cabernet, and a couple of the single vineyard Cabernets from Nickel & Nickel, which are reliably polished and tasty.

All these and more below. Enjoy.


2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio, Campania, Italy
Pale blonde in the glass, this wine smells of ripe pears, peach and a touch of wet stone. In the mouth, wonderfully crisp flavors of Asian pear, peach, and tropical fruits have a zingy acidity and a nice wet chalkboard backbone. Delicious and refreshing with nice citrus pith notes on the finish. 13% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $15. click to buy.

2015 Williams Selyem "Lewis MacGregor Estate Vineyard" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of buttered popcorn and pineapple. In the mouth, flavors of pineapple, buttered popcorn, and lemon curd have a bright richness that will appeal to California Chardonnay lovers who don'tVinography Unboxed: Week of February 25, 2018 mind a heavy dose of oak flavor in their wine. Good acidity. Easy to drink. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2015 Pfendler Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light yellow gold in color, this wine smells of pineapple, dried mango and buttered popcorn. In the mouth, aggressive acidity and the salinity that comes from oak barrels gets the salivary glands in overdrive while flavors of lemon curd, dried mango and pineapple are shot through with flavors of oak. A little more heavy-handed than I'd like. 14.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2015 Williams Selyem "Hirsch Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried flowers, raspberry pastilles, and fresh green herbs. In the mouth, fine grained skein of tannins wraps around a core of black raspberry and raspberry leaf flavors scented with dried flowers. Excellent acidity, with a lovely wet stone backbone and touch of oak. 13.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $130. click to buy.

2013 CUNE "Reserva" Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain
Medium to dark ruby in color, this wine smells of sweet cherries and a touch of chocolate. In the mouth, cherry and sour cherry fruit has a wonderful bright juiciness thanks to excellent acidity. Faint powdery tannins linger in the finish with notes of leather. Aged for 12 months in a combination of French and American oak. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2014 Silverado Vineyards "Mt. George Vineyard" Merlot, Coombsville, Napa, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of plum and black cherry fruit. In the mouth, plum and cherry fruit is wrapped in a gauzy haze of tannins. Notes of toasty oak linger in the finish. Good acidity and length. 14.9% alcohol. 4,900 cases produced. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40 . click to buy.

2014 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and cocoa powder. In the mouth, black cherry and cola flavors have a nice bright juiciness thanks to excellent acidity, and the oak, while present, is very well integrated. Cola notes linger in the finish with muscular, fine grained tannins. 14.4% alcohol. 27,000 cases produced. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2014 Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco leaf. In the mouth, bright cherry, cola, and tobacco leaf flavors have a juicy bounce to them thanks to excellent acidity. Fine grained tannins wrap the core of fruit like a fleecy blanket and hints of vanilla and oak waft breezily above the lush fruit in a way that doesn't distract from the cherry symphony that is the main course here. Contains 7% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot. Fermented with native yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 14.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2014 Signorello Estate "Padrone" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of struck match, cassis and black cherry. In the mouth, silky cherry and black cherry flavors are heavily oak inflected and have a slightly sulfurous note to them. Good acidity and length with muscular tannins. Made from the oldest Cabernet on the property, planted in 1990. 14.5% alcohol Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $160. click to buy.

2015 Nickel & Nickel "C.C. Ranch" Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich cherry and black cherry fruit. In the mouth, rich cherry and black cherry fruit is lively with excellent acidity and shot through with faint notes of vanilla and oak that add a spice to the wine rather than overpower the fruit. The oak really makes an appearance in the tannins of the wine, however, which are somewhat drying, leaving the mouth feeling a bit parched. Excellent acidity. 14.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $95. click to buy.

2015 Nickel & Nickel "Hayne Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa, California
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cassis. In the mouth, cassis and cherry flavors are draped in fleecy tannins even as they gush with juicy acidity. The tannins gain strength as the wine finishes with floral notes, leaving the palate in a tight chalky grip. This one needs some time. Good balance and well integrated oak. 14.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $95. click to buy.



Adams County Winery starts countdown to reintroduction of Spring CATawaba – PennLive.com (blog)


PennLive.com (blog)

Adams County Winery starts countdown to reintroduction of Spring CATawaba
PennLive.com (blog)
Adams County Winery, which has found success in tying a couple of its wine names to animals, has another one it plans to put back on the list. It will debut the second vintage of Spring CATawaba from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 10 at the farm winery in ...

Vincent Arroyo Winery is cutting edge, and old-school at the same time in Calistoga – Napa Valley Register


Napa Valley Register

Vincent Arroyo Winery is cutting edge, and old-school at the same time in Calistoga
Napa Valley Register
Vincent Arroyo Winery also produces a single-vineyard petite sirah and tempranillo from the Rattlesnake property, Moye said, and a single-vineyard petite sirah from the Greenwood Avenue property. Sangiovese, merlot and syrah are grown there, too. They ...